Month: June 2010

➟ iPhone vs. HTC EVO animations

Gruber called these “profanely funny”, and even then I was surprised at how good they were for crappy animations voiced by text-to-speech systems. How often do you see great comedy writing that’s also technologically accurate criticism? NSFW language. Link []

➟ Couch Cushion Architecture: A Critical Analysis

Build Blog: At first glance the composition appears unintentional and the construction shoddy. But further investigation reveals a clear delineation between indoor/outdoor space with a design focus on protection through the use of barrier. Planes are shifted off the orthogonal to accommodate function; as a side effect it relieves inhabitants from a harsh Euclidian geometry. Posts like this are what architectural writers train their whole lives for. Many more examples through the link. Link

➟ Studio Ghibli’s Ni no Kuni gameplay video

Following up on the screenshots I posted a few days ago, this gameplay video of Studio Ghibli & Level 5’s upcoming PS3 game, Ni no Kuni (The Another World), is just gorgeous in its 3D engine-powered approximation of the company’s signature animation style. Link (via @davechua, who notes that the battle sequences are rather Pokemon-ish)

Japanese traffic lights red, yellow, blue? – JapanSugoi – Everything Cool about Japan

From JapanSugoi: In Japan, green traffic lights are considered “blue” and described as ao shingō (青信号). In modern Japanese although there is a word for “green” (”midori 緑”), which is a relatively new term that has only been used since the Heian Period. Even after “midori” came into use, green was still thought of as a shade of “ao” instead of an independent color and only became distinguished after World War II. Includes a couple other interesting examples of how culture filters even things we take for granted, like the color of the moon. Link

➟ Studio Ghibli’s Ni no Kuni for PS3

Studio Ghibli and Level-5 are making a videogame for the DS, and it’s just been announced that a version for the PS3 will also be released; most likely a different story in the same world rather than a straight port. The screenshot above is purportedly the actual game being rendered by a 2D/3D animation engine. Compare it to a still from an actual animated cutscene here. They are almost indistinguishable in terms of art quality. That a console game controlled in real-time by a player can look (at least when paused) just like a real Studio Ghibli movie is utterly amazing. Link []

➟ iPhone 4 Drop Test

For a brief moment after the iPhone 4 was introduced, I thought I’d risk using it without a case. Now I’m pretty sure I’m not going to get one until I see a really nice solution from SwitchEasy, InCase, or Speck. Having a glass phone for most people is like having glass knuckles as a boxer. I used my black iPhone 3G for a year with nothing but some anti-glare screen film, and all it got were a few minor scratches on the back. I might have dropped it twice, but not on bare concrete. I’ve been especially careful with the 3GS, and it’s been in some sort of case from Day 1. Unfortunately, the Power Support Air Jacket* I’ve been using since December has caused some scuffing of the chrome bezel. If you’re getting a case for your iPhone 4, be sure that all surfaces coming into contact with the phone have some sort of soft buffering material, not hard plastic. * Power Support products are grossly overpriced outside of Japan. That USD$35 case is …

➟ Magician Michael Ammar on Letterman

Back when magic tricks were something I did without irony, Michael Ammar was one of the best names to start learning with. His how-to videos were slightly dated, and his gentle, fatherly style of performance at a green felt table suggested that pejorative term “parlor trick”, although his illusions were neither cheesy nor dull. It’s been years since I’d heard his name, until he popped up on The Late Show with David Letterman last month. His presentation has been updated a little, and it ends on a great (and unexpected) note. Link

➟ Mark meets Kuato

Just discovered this hilarious video by my friend Mark, from four years ago. Basically it’s the scene from Total Recall where Arnold Schwarzenegger meets the stomach mutant, with Mark inserting himself into it. Link []

A short aside on handheld game prices

When I bought my first Nintendo DS in the spring of 2005, touchscreen gaming was new to the mainstream and the idea of downloadable handheld content was still a few clouds short of a perfect storm. I believe you might have been able to download a game directly to a Windows Mobile PDA, but syncing them over from a desktop was the standard practice. At that time, I was happy to plonk down £20+ (nearly SGD$60) for a simple casual game like Zoo Keeper, which many will recognize as a clone of Popcap’s Bejeweled. Yeah, that game you can play for free online. I remember ordering it online from the American because it wasn’t yet due in England for some time, and the ensuing wait for something to play on my new DS was torture. Even though it launched alongside meatier fare like Super Mario 64 DS, this Match-3 game was an incredible new experience. The ability to directly manipulate blocks onscreen was hailed in the gaming press as something that could “only be done on Nintendo’s …